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Blog: Shrewsbury Castle dig – day 12: Digging downwards apace

Related topics: Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

Day 12: Saturday 12 September 2020

Saturday came with beautiful weather, the sun shining gloriously throughout the day.

Our objective for the day was to continue digging downwards to see the relationship between the layers of earth and the wall of the castle bailey. We also sifted through the earth being removed from the trench, due to small and interesting finds which could be easily overlooked. These include the fondly named ‘Blue Peter badge’, which Morn calls a livery badge.

People continuing their Shrewsbury Castle dig trench

Nigel makes a plan. Photo Liz Painter.


The dig required the heavy excavation of a thick, dark layer of clay rich soil. Due to current coronavirus restrictions and the reducing size of the trench, mostly only one person was able to be in the trench at a time. Volunteers took it in turns to carefully remove this layer, while others lift buckets of earth out of the trench and sifted through for finds. Small finds from this layer include fragments of animal bone and pieces of pot. One very interesting discovery from the trench was a medieval green glazed piece of decorative jug handle.

The information and finds tent were popular with visitors of all ages, both local and travelling visitors, taking a detour from the castle’s driveway to look at the finds. Many visitors were keen to engage with volunteers and learn more about the dig. It was encouraging to see so many return visitors, some coming daily to see the dig progress and doing their own research at home on the castle site, which they shared with the team.

People in a trench at Shrewsbury Castle

Tom puzzles over an intrusive later pit feature. Photo Liz Painter

It has been a productive and encouraging day overall. Tomorrow we will continue digging through the medieval layers to gain more evidence that can aid deeper understanding of the castle’s history.

Morn cleans up our first proper Medieval layer. Photo Liz Painter.

Morn cleans up our first proper Medieval layer. Photo Liz Painter.

By Elizabeth Painter, University Centre Shrewsbury volunteer, on behalf of all volunteers at the Shrewsbury Castle dig.